The unknown here again darted at Cropole one of his withering glances.
“I really do not understand diamonds, monsieur, I assure you,” cried he.
“But the jewelers do: ask them,” said the unknown. “Now I believe our accounts are settled, are they not, monsieur l’hote?”
“Yes, monsieur, and to my profound regret; for I fear I have offended monsieur.”
“Not at all!” replied the unknown, with ineffable majesty.
“Or have appeared to be extortionate with a noble traveler. Consider, monsieur, the peculiarity of the case.”
“Say no more about it, I desire; and leave me to myself.”
Cropole bowed profoundly, and left the room with a stupefied air, which announced that he had a good heart, and felt genuine remorse.
The unknown himself shut the door after him, and, when left alone, looked mournfully at the bottom of the purse, from which he had taken a small silken bag containing the diamond, his last resource.
He dwelt likewise upon the emptiness of his pockets, turned over the papers in his pocket-book, and convinced himself of the state of absolute destitution in which he was about to be plunged.
He raised his eyes towards heaven, with a sublime emotion of despairing calmness, brushed off with his hand some drops of sweat which trickled over his noble brow, and then cast down upon the earth a look which just before had been impressed with almost divine majesty.
That the storm had passed far from him, perhaps he had prayed in the bottom of his soul.
He drew near to the window, resumed his place in the balcony, and remained there, motionless, annihilated, dead, till the moment when, the heavens beginning to darken, the first flambeaux traversed the enlivened street, and gave the signal for illumination to all the windows of the city.
Whilst the unknown was viewing these lights with interest, and lending an ear to the various noises, Master Cropole entered his apartment, followed by two attendants, who laid the cloth for his meal.
The stranger did not pay them the least attention; but Cropole approaching him respectfully, whispered, “Monsieur, the diamond has been valued.”
“Ah!” said the traveler. “Well?”
“Well, monsieur, the jeweler of S. A. R. gives two hundred and eighty pistoles for it.”
“Have you them?”
“I thought it best to take them, monsieur; nevertheless, I made it a condition of the bargain, that if monsieur wished to keep his diamond, it should be held till monsieur was again in funds.”
“Oh, no, not at all: I told you to sell it.”
“Then I have obeyed, or nearly so, since, without having definitely sold it, I have touched the money.”
“Pay yourself,” added the unknown.
“I will do so, monsieur, since you so positively require it.”